Problems getting smartphones to properly connect to in-vehicle infotainment systems are now the #1 complaint among consumers, according to the latest study on the quality of the new model released Tuesday by market research firm JD Power.
Overall, JD Power says malfunctioning electronics and infotainment is the cause of six of the top 10 complaints from US buyers of 2021 cars, SUVs and pickup trucks, despite years of automakers’ efforts to better integrate digital technology.
For the first time, Stellantis NV’s Ram truck brand topped the rankings in JD Power’s Initial Quality Study, and the French-Italian automaker’s muscle car brand Dodge came in second. Lexus, the luxury brand Toyota Motor and a regular Power survey winner, came in third. The full results of the study are here.
The new Initial Quality Study highlights the challenges car manufacturers face when trying to turn their vehicles into smartphones on wheels.
While complaints about mechanical defects have generally subsided, consumer frustration persists with complex dashboard screens, radios without physical volume buttons and now phones that don’t connect seamlessly with dashboard system software, said Dave Sargent, vice president Automotive Quality Service from JD Power, Reuters.
In 2021, the main problem reported by respondents was the failure of a smartphone to wirelessly connect to the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto software in the vehicle. These systems should emulate the driver’s smartphone screen on the vehicle’s dashboard display.
Wireless smartphone emulation technology, offered in about a third of 2021 models, is creating challenges “for virtually every automaker that offers it to consumers,” said Sargent.
“Automakers and tech companies are pointing fingers at each other and consumers are caught in the middle,” he said.
Second on the list of customer complaints received from nearly 111,000 respondents is voice recognition systems, which have been the number 1 issue since 2012. Sargent said it has dropped because drivers are using voice commands on their phones, bypassing them. vehicle systems.
In third place are complaints about the panel’s touchscreens, Sargent said.
“Consumers don’t think there’s a better way to change the volume of a radio than by turning a knob,” he said.
JD Power’s initial quality study is used by automakers as a scorecard for product design and manufacturing quality performance. Car manufacturers use the best ratings for brands or models in advertising. The detailed results of Power’s 223-question survey are often used to rework manufacturing processes or vehicle system design.
© Thomson Reuters 2021